Archive for January, 2012

During the Australia and India test match series there have been claims by the Indian players that Australian crowds (as well as the Australian players, but that’s another story) have been sledging the Indian players.  Indian player Kohli was fined after giving the middle finger to spectators who he claimed were making disparaging remarks about his sisters and mother.  In a later interview Kholi further expressed his displeasure of crowd heckling ”It is really, really frustrating at times because they say stuff which shouldn’t be said on a cricket field,” Kohli said.

”You go out there to play, not to get abused like that. They’ve come to enjoy the game of cricket. They should do that and not get drunk and abuse players, so it’s not fair on the players because if the players say anything they are fined and the crowd can just say anything and go home.” (quote from the SMH link below).  This type of behaviour is not limited to cricket or international matches or even players.  When I recently attended a KFC 20Twenty Big Bash match at one point a security guard on the outside of the field was kneeling.  One of the slightly drunk spectators proceeded to yell out a suggestion of what he could do in that position.  Another incident of spectator heckling I was present at was when I attended a Sydney FC soccer match a few years ago.  Attending the match with a group of people one player missed the ball near our seats and a few members proceeding to spend the rest of the game yelling insults at the player.  Even tennis, where spectators are required to be silent during points, is not immune.  During one match at the recent Australian open as the crowd was hushed ready for a point a spectator gave a rather loud wolf whistle.  A giggle passed through the crowd and silence fell again.   Another spectator then felt the need to let the first spectator know that they were a “wanker”.  During Victoria Azarenka’s match against Australian Casey Dellacqua the vocal tennis players shriek was mercilessly mocked by the crowd.

Is this type of irreverent behaviour just a (in my opinion often unattractive) part of Australian culture or is it just plain rude?  Australians have always been an irreverent bunch, and not afraid of taking aim at anyone, political figures, sporting heroes or even royalty but do we on occasion take the joke too far?  Personally the concept of heckling has never appealed to me, all professional sports people are light years ahead of me in ability and I respect the level of dedication it has taken them to achieve that level of performance, even if I don’t like them as a person. Is there an easy answer to this question? No of course not, but I’d be interested in your opinions.


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